I had an opportunity to work on HoloLens project during #ONEWEEK hackathon at Microsoft. For those who don’t know, oneweek is a yearly worldwide hackathon at Microsoft where interns & full time employees from different MS Campuses can participate and develop prototypes on any track or idea.
Before you start, you should know this article doesn’t cover anything about my hackathon project idea, implementation or any technical aspects of it. It’s more about my first experience with HoloLens and tips on how to start.
First of all mixed reality is amazing and I can put my money on the fact that it’s the future of personal computing. Coupled with intelligent cloud services it can give mind blowing results.
You can be Tony Stark w/o suit. Well you can have a suit too! But that’s a whole different topic…
Excited? Let’s see what you can do about it. Note that If you are not from United States or Canada you cannot buy a HoloLens as of now. The development edition of HoloLens is available in these countries for $3000.
You can still develop for HoloLens using HoloLens Emulator for Windows 10. All you need is
– Visual Studio 2015 with Update 3
– HoloLens Emulator
– Unity Hololens technical preview
HoloLens support two type of applications one is holographic applications which you can develop using Unity. Second it Universal Windows App platform using which you can deploy 2d projects to HoloLens. Essentially like Edge browser works in HoloLens.
If you are interested I’d recommend you to start with HoloLens 101 documentation – It has step by step instructions and video tutorials on how to deploy first hologram to HoloLens and interact with it. This was my first experience with Unity Engine or any Game Engine per se and the way they handle physics is amazing. The texture updates were butter smooth and physics was life like. Other good thing about using Unity is exhaustive documentations, loads of system libraries, huge community and a separate stack-overflow forum. To make it interesting you can use Cortana APIs (they are system APIs in windows 10) and integrate voice interactions with hologram.
To see more on what you can do, you can clone https://github.com/Microsoft/GalaxyExplorer and deploy it to your emulator. Galaxy Explorer is an open-source HoloLens application that was developed by MS as an example project after people voted for it in share your idea campaign.
Once you have done this, you might want to test more holograms. But if you are not a designer (or 3d asset designer) you can download free (/paid) assets from following websites:
Another interesting stuff is HoloLens employ different type of coordinate systems to interact with real world. One can exploit any of them in the applications depending on use case. Read more about the coordinate systems MS Developer Resources.
I’m looking forward to work more on HoloLens and writing about the tech side of it. Future looks so cool – holograms, self driving cars, internet on balloons, space tourism :O 🙂
PS: My team won first prize in one of the executive challenges and we shall be meeting Terry Myerson, EVP of the Windows and Devices Group soon :).
You’d like to dig more? then dig more:
- Holographic Academy: https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/holographic/academy
- Cortana Integrations in UWP: https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/uwp/input-and-devices/cortana-interactions
- App model and life cycle in HoloLens: https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/holographic/app_model
- Hololens Team: https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/holographic/meet_the_team
- Coordinate Systems in HoloLens: https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/holographic/coordinate_systems
- Another interesting read – looking through holes in your reality: https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/holographic/case_study_-_looking_through_holes_in_your_reality